Hospitalization Period After Breast Reconstruction Surgery

Last Modified: May 8, 2009

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Tell me about the hospitalization period after breast reconstruction surgery.


Rachel McKenna, MSN, CRNP, Nurse Practitioner in the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, responds:

After surgery, you will be admitted to an intermediate care floor (level of care between a regular bed and an intensive care unit bed). A nurse will be checking the blood flow to your flap every hour for the first 48 hours. This is done in a noninvasive way and is not painful or uncomfortable.

You will have several drains called Jackson-Pratt or “JP” drains post-operatively. These drains will remove the excess fluid from the surgical sites that would otherwise collect there. You will be going home with some or all of these drains. You will receive education while in the hospital on how to care for these.

After the first 2 days, you will be transferred to a regular bed. You will be up and walking on the second day after surgery and should be eating regular food by this time. Patients typically spend 4 to 5 days in the hospital after this surgery before going home.

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